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Types of Insulin

Insulin is a type of hormone. It helps the body use blood sugar (glucose) for fuel. With diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin. Then you may need insulin injections. If you have type 2 diabetes, your cells may have trouble using insulin. There are many types of insulin that can be prescribed for your treatment. Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the types that are best for you. Most insulin is made in a lab. It’s called human insulin because it’s just like the insulin that’s made in the body. Some types of insulin work fast. Other types work slowly and last longer.

The different types of insulin work in the following ways:

1. Rapid-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about  15 minutes after taken.

  • Peaks about 1 hour after taken.

  • Keeps working for 2 to 4 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                          

2. Short-acting or regular insulin:

  • Begins working about  30 minutes after taken.

  • Peaks within 2 to 3 hours after taken.

  • Keeps working for 3 to 6 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                       

3. Intermediate-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 2 to 4 hours after taken.

  • Peaks 4 to 12 hours after taken.

  • Keeps working for  12 to 18 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                       

4. Long-acting insulin:

  • Begins working several hours after injection

  • No peak.

  • Continuous, even action for about 24 hours

Name of insulin:                                                                       

5. Premixed combinations of intermediate-acting and short-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 30 to 60 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is variable.

  • Keeps working for 10 to 16 hours.

Name of insulin:                                                                      

6. Premixed combinations of intermediate-acting and rapid-acting insulin:

  • Begins working about 5 to 15 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is variable.

  • Keeps working for 10 to 16 hours.

Name of insulin: _____________________________

7. Inhaled insulin:*

  • Begins working about 12 to 15 minutes after taken.

  • Strongest action is about 30 minutes after being inhaled.

  • Keeps working for 180 minutes.

  • *Inhaled insulin must be used with injectable long-acting insulin in:

    • People with type 1 diabetes

    • People with type 2 diabetes who use long-acting insulin

Name of insulin: _____________________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2018
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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